Many of us are looking to shed a few pounds this winter to get our beach bodies ready for another summer vacation. Thankfully, that has turned a lot of eyes towards nutrition. When looking into nutrition, nothing says healthy fat burning like a Ketogenic diet. However, like with any diet, everything has its ups and downs. Ketogenesis can have a rather hard toll on the body’s mineral reserves causing what our community has endearingly nicknamed the “Keto Flu”.
The Keto Flu is primarily caused by a reduction in the bodies key electrolytes/minerals known as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are found in a large amount food sources, in fact they are found in almost everything we eat. However, with the hardship your body goes through during Ketogenesis, it tends to cause a few side effects. One type of supplement you can use are ketogenic supplements which will help you through the keto flu. But that's not all you can do to make it easier on your body!
Your body is utilizing a new energy source, fat, to maintain its energy levels. The average human being generally consumes enough carbohydrates for them to be used as the primary source of energy, but with Ketogenesis, that source becomes extremely limited, forcing the body to utilize its fat reserves. Fat is a much more powerful source of energy than carbohydrates, which is why it is kept in the background as a reserve source for emergencies. The downside to this is that as a more powerful source of energy, that means it tends to burn a little brighter than our bodies are used to. On top of this, most of us are exercising more than we are used to during this diet as well.
Combining more exercise with a hotter energy source, tends to lead to a significantly higher level of dehydration. As any of us do when we become dehydrated, this causes us to drink. The more often we become dehydrated and the more dehydrated we become, the more fluids we consume. Unfortunately, this tends to flush the body of essential nutrients rather quickly. In excessive levels, this can lead to what is known as water intoxication. While it is generally rare for this stage to occur, because most of the time a simple banana is enough to keep you going through over a gallon of water, it can be extremely dangerous. The more we drink, the more we empty our bodies contents. As those contents leave us, so do some of our electrolytes and minerals each time. When the body runs out of these important minerals, especially Potassium, Magnesium, and Sodium, water intoxication occurs and our body begins to shut down.
Keeping these minerals and electrolytes up is a key component to keeping us running healthy through our Ketogenesis adventure. Keeping these levels up helps us to maintain our energy levels, helps to prevent the onset of the dreaded Keto Flu, and helps keep the body healthier in the long run. Of course, the healthier we are, the better we feel and the better we operate. The better we operate, the easier it is to meet our goals, weight loss or otherwise.
While Potassium, Magnesium, and Sodium are the primary electrolytes/minerals that we need to worry about being flushed out of our systems on the Ketogenesis diet, we also need to make sure we watch our Chromium. If you notice yourself having more and more frequent sugar cravings, or those pesky pounds don’t seem to be melting away, you may have a Chromium deficiency. Chromium helps to regulate our hormone levels. Specifically, it regulates our insulin levels. Insulin is what tells our body if it has enough sugar in the blood stream. If the body thinks that it has too low of a blood sugar level, it spikes the insulin resistance. This forces our bodies to grasp on to every last carbohydrate for dear life and retain them. This is bad for weight loss, and for our energy levels. This puts our body into a form of survival mode that conserves its energy for emergencies only.
Chromium helps regulate our insulin levels, which in turn helps regulate our blood sugar spikes. Less spikes, means less insulin resistance, and less insulin resistance means less cravings, more energy, and an easier time losing unwanted weight.
I have found Fortilyte to be a rather effective electrolyte supplement. It contains all of our major minerals, Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium. It also contains Calcium and Vitamin D, which both can become deficient in those of us who prefer to use a dairy free route for our Ketogenesis diet plans.